After the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales number one debut this weekend, it has been revealed that the budget for snacks alone was $2 million dollars on the first installment of the franchise. The number one weekend for Pirates of the Caribbean 5 was enough to bring Disney’s monster franchise up over the $4 billion dollar mark worldwide, even with less than stellar stateside numbers and the effect of the Manchester terrorist attack on the European box office. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl debuted in 2003 and became the fourth highest grossing movie of that year after critics estimated that it would be an epic, over budget box office bomb. But what did the crew eat? What about the craft services? Fans the world-over have been asking that question for the past 14 years and now we finally have an answer.
The Hollywood Reporter recently sat down with some of the original cast of the first three movies to discuss regrets, triumphs, and of course the $2 million dollar snack budget. Crew sizes for the Pirates franchise were said to be huge and worked night and day to get everything right. Jack Davenport who played Commodore James Norrington remembers the size of the crew and asking the head of craft services how much it all cost to feed the massive crew. Davenport explains.
“I remember saying to him one day ‘What is your budget for all this?’ He looked me square in the eye and said ‘essentially unlimited.’ I was like ‘what does that mean?’ He was like ‘I don’t know, $2 million.’ I was like ‘For snacks?’ And he was like ‘yeah?’ That sounds frivolous but it wasn’t. He obviously had to keep people fed. The point is that was just a snack line item.”
$2 million does seem like a frivolous amount of money to spend on food, but when considering how massive the crews were and the top billed actors, it all makes sense. Johnny Depp sure as hell ain’t going to be eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to play Jack Sparrow and a guy that has worked all night to construct a set isn’t going to settle for Pringles and Dasani. 750 lunches a day would have to be prepared from food shipped via airplane because they were filming in the middle of nowhere. Keep the cast and crew happy and you end up with a better overall morale, and getting decent food has to be the easiest way to get everybody onboard, so to speak. Producers may skimp on a lot of things, but craft services are often not one of them.
Elsewhere in the Hollywood Reporter article it is said that the cast and crew lost over 100 cellphones into the ocean. Somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean there is a treasure trove of Black Berries probably now used as shells for adapting crabs. Another interesting fact revealed in the article is that the actors went to Pirate School (yes, there is a pirate school) and they were taught how to sword fight by the lighsaber master Bob Anderson. Anderson did the sword fight choreography for A New Hope, Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and many more.
There’s no word on what the food budget was for Pirates of the Caribbean 5, but it’s safe to say after this weekend that it’s been recouped, unlike say Baywatch, which has run into King Arthur bombing territory. In any rate it’s nice to see Disney taking care of their cast and crew giving them the “good stuff.” Personally, I’d like to see the budget for Depp’s cigarettes that has to be astronomical.